When “How Are You?” Is Good Enough

Social manners, Avoid faux pas, Reunions
Image from Flickr Creative Commons by Life Life Happy

Whenever I meet old friends I make sure that I learn something new. Be it an update about people we once knew or an idea that could inspire me. The most recent was over shots of Johnnie Walker Double Black which was an affirmation of one of the things of I have been pondering along.

Reunions, whether with relatives, friends or old acquaintances, are exciting but it is that initial greeting that could determine how it will end up. Out of excitement, people can get tactless especially when meeting those whom they meet for the first time after a long time. There is always the risk that even well-meaning questions could be received wrongly so it pays to show some sensitivity or social manners.

Days before Christmas, it was timely exposed on social media the resentment that many people have over the casual “Uy, tumaba ka (Hey, you’ve gained weight)” greeting which is so common in most gatherings—if it is a Filipino thing, I honestly don’t know. Its intent may just be to start small talks but such seemingly harmless statement could easily alienate another person and cap the night off even before the party has begun.

This is when a simple “how are you?” comes appropriate to avoid that faux pas. Like what I have learned in customer service, establishing rapport is very important at the onset of a call or an interaction. It is when confidence of the other person is gained and success of the transaction is determined. It is therefore a big mistake to assume that the other party will welcome when you throw them personal questions like “Where is your wife”, “Where do you work” or “What is your job position now”. It pays to watch out for signs like body languages and facial expressions that would tell if the receiving party is just as excited to interact with you. Take the cue from there.

Later I will be attending a regular gathering, the last one before Marcus and I fly back to Manila tonight. While I know that I have packed some pounds over five days of vacation, but for fun I still wish I have that “Kayo rin po, tita, tumaba!” shirt.

Happy New Year! Hope 2015 will be a better one.


Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Excited to see wifey and mittens.)

Same Sunset Different Day

One of those solemn Nuvali sunsets.

Another dusk signals another end to a busy day. Its reddish glow appears like a big traffic light saying stop, it’s the day’s end, another one has come to pass. A day that has its own challenges, little or impacting, be it a slow traffic that seems endless; or a strive to perfect work that seems impossible; or a parenting job that gets tougher as the kid continues to grow as an inquisitive and active one; or a relationship that needs to be perked up soon–maybe through an inexpensive date or a simple walk in the park.

Every dusk gives us time to reflect, to get the rest we deserve as we prepare for the next day to start all over again, fresh and full of vigor, as morrow’s dawn strikes again. It is when we start our lives as an employee, a spouse, a parent, an entrepreneur, or a student who–when dusk fills the sky, again– simply looks forward to tell himself, “Yes, it’s the same sunset but today’s a better one.”


Mood: 2/10 Honks! (I do not expect to see a sunset today but I just hope today’s a better one.)

MyPhone Rio: A Cheap Phone That Doesn’t Feel Like One


Fresh from the box.


Choices of smartphones nowadays are overwhelming and the decision to buy one isn’t as easy as it was ten years ago. Back then, anyone just has to have either a Nokia or a Motorola to get a bang for their buck. To own anything less than the two popular brands means to expect a mediocre product ready to die soon.

Such was the case why when my Nokia smartphone started acting up more than a year ago. I had a hard time picking a replacement but the ambitious me was aiming for an iPhone or a Samsung or a Sony. Every now and then as I look at my aging 5800 XpressMusic I would wonder what I would eventually end up buying. But the ever changing smartphone models have made my dream harder to achieve. And then there’s also the aspect of budget.

So when the trusty Nokia finally stopped working early 2013 I made a tough and humble decision. I bought the cheapest I can have, an 800-peso MyPhone. It has a VGA camera, a radio tuner, it doesn’t have snake. It was probably the basic of the basics. Since then I haven’t turned back and surprisingly, I was happy holding and using it around other people. My officemates have joked around that it doesn’t fit my OIC position while my wife said that I should get something more decent. But I never gave in to the pressure. I was contented with it although every now and then I would still wish having a smartphone.

The day came when wifey made that wish come true. On our wedding anniversary, as I proudly handed to her a Tomato swap watch, she retrieved from a secret place somewhere inside our house a nice solid box containing what would become my second smartphone, however, it was neither an iPhone nor a Samsung. It was a MyPhone Agua Rio.

Reading my thoughts she immediately said that it’s only cheap and (stressed) that she saved for it. Yes, I had an idea but not at the level of P5000—she soon confessed. The phone exceeded my expectations though. It actually didn’t feel inferior, it even works just like those Samsung phones Marcus and I have been playing with at an Abenson’s appliance store. Our kid has tested the Agua Rio—if he could write now, he could write a better phone review—and his tiny fingers have checked most the apps. He gives this new phone a thumbs up. I couldn’t agree more. This is a really cheap phone that doesn’t feel and look like one.

Thanks to the ongoing product war among the giant smartphone brands everyone from every market niche reaps the benefits. What most of us now consider a lowly brand—remember that Samsung used to be one—has potentials to compete with rest. And this is where MyPhone seems to be headed if it continues to innovate and respond to consumer feedback. Good luck MyPhone, hope the next one comes with a better earphone.


Mood: 2/10 Honks! (

Slow Down and Stop

Most of us would agree that we hate being stopped. It is the reason we strain our necks to investigate what keeps traffic from moving, often times it is what causes us to blare our horns madly to coax that unsuspecting guy in front of us to step on it.

When sickness strikes, we desperately try to fight it off. We question the heavens why us, when will we recover. And we want that damn recovery fast.

At work, we get impatient when that dream job we have been applying for just doesn’t come so soon.

And in our family, our children or spouses bear the brunt whenever things don’t go our way.

Any sign of stopping we just immediately hate.  When something breaks our momentum and keeps us indefinitely stationary we become impatient, frustrated, and irrational.

But what we must realize is that there are always reasons, important ones, that we are stopped on our tracks. For one, it is the time we are given the opportunity to reflect, to analyze, and to reconsider. Being on the go makes us feel invincible, too proud, too detached from reality, and worse, from the very people who are supposed to be the main recipients of why we want to keep on moving.

On that note, this holy week, whether too pious or not, let us allow ourselves to slow down or come to a full halt and appreciate what we currently have, what we have achieved so far. Let us stop and remember to thank the divine power who in the first place has kept us going throughout the whole year.


Mood: 1/10 Honks! (My last work day for this week.)

Motivation Be Here

The craziest month, I can recall so far, in parenting has passed and since then I have wished to get back to writing beside wanting to make August a good one, if not better, for the three of us. But my blog ideas seem to have gone down the drain along with my patience in July. (If there is such thing as writer’s block, I believe that parent’s block do exist.)

Yet then again, experience tells me that I will recover, albeit slow. I know that all it takes is some push, some motivation, and of course, some good behavior from Marcus. And so this morning, Twitter gave me that light bulb–dim but nevertheless one that I need to fill a void on my blog site–in the form of an interesting Venn diagram.

The truth is…(Photo taken from the web.)

The Venn diagram above which I saw on my timeline sparked two things. Firstly, the truth that the likelihood of one’s idea to be derived from others is so high. Case in point, me. Thank you social media.

Secondly, and shamelessly, that I can do my own Venn diagram. Well, indulge me. Blame pork. Thanks but no thanks politics.

Congress’ million-peso motivation is my blog post motivation.


Often times I have been tempted to write my opinions on politics. I have posted some before but the restraints I need to do so that I avoid the temptation of swearing at some people aren’t worth the effort. Maybe someday but right now I need to conserve my energy–for parenting.


Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Skipped running. Will surely skip badminton. Will attend a kid’s birthday party.)

Let’s Give Monday a Break

(Image from the web.)

I call this the Garfield effect. It is the general hatred to one poor day of the week. It is the conspiracy to collectively pounce on one day of the week, one that can’t fight back, one that has not done anything wrong other than just being the first day after the weekends. If there’s one day of the week that bears the brunt of people’s negative emotions, it is Monday. As a matter of fact, it is safe to say that at one time, almost half of the world seems to chorus “I hate Mondays” as the countdown to the end of their Sunday starts. The other half follows next.

Yes it is understandable that anyone who is spending a well-deserved time off with friends or family would feel resentment over the thought that once again their two-day weekend will be cut short by Monday—the dreaded Monday. As for the employed, it is the start of another busy work week; for students, teachers, and mothers with pre-school kids, the first day of challenging school routines.

There is so much aversion to this M in MTWTF that it is not uncommon to hear people say “four more days!” even if the day has not yet started. This sentiment is so widespread that regardless of social status and positions in the company, I have heard people heave a weary sigh as Monday nears.

But is it really Monday that we hate? Or is it the things—or people—we look forward to deal with as we make our exodus to work or school, as our shift starts, or as the school bell rings? Can’t we for once be objective when we mimic Garfield’s famous one-liner, “I hate Mondays”? Can’t we for once declare on Twitter or Facebook a rational statement such as “I hate Mondays because of (him/her/it)”?


Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Escribo, tengo alegre!)